The Dutch war on Islam

Geert Wilders founded his own political faction – Freedom Party (PVV). The party’s main platform is the struggle against the Islamization of Holland.

Far right dutch politician Geert Wilders of the antiimmigration Freedom (PVV) Party arrives at a PVV rally after the European Parliament elections. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Far right dutch politician Geert Wilders of the antiimmigration Freedom (PVV) Party arrives at a PVV rally after the European Parliament elections.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Geert Wilders loves us. Sometimes it’s actually a little embarrassing when people express such unconditional love for the State of Israel. Wilders was born and raised Catholic. He visited Israel for the 40th time right in the middle of Operation Protective Edge. Just for a visit.
Wilders began his political career as a speechwriter, but it wasn’t long before his name made it onto the VVD party list, and before he knew it he was a member of the Netherlands House of Representatives. One of his colleagues in parliament was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born former Muslim activist who published books that expose Islam’s oppressive attitude toward women.
Hirsi Ali’s most famous book, Infidel, won her international fame, as well as a number of fatwas (death decrees) issued by Islamist groups. Hirsi Ali wrote the script for a movie called Submission, directed by Theo van Gogh, which criticized the treatment of women in Islamic society. It turned out to be the last movie that van Gogh ever made, because Muhammad Bouyeri shot him twice and stabbed him seven times on an Amsterdam street, and then pinned a letter with verses from the Koran to van Gogh’s body with a small knife. Bouyeri also carved out two names on the body: Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders. A couple days later, two assassins were caught with grenades on their way to kill the two politicians. Hirsi Ali was quickly whisked out of Holland and Wilders became the most heavily guarded politician in all of the Netherlands.
In 2004, Wilders resigned from the VVD and founded his own faction – Freedom Party (PVV). The party’s main platform is the struggle against the Islamization of Holland. In the 2006 parliamentary elections, PVV won only nine out of 150 open seats.
Ever since then, his power has been growing and PVV is now the third largest political party in Holland. The number of threats by Muslims on Wilders’s life increased, which led him to produce a documentary called Fitna, a term used in the Koran that means “incitement.” (The 17-minute film, which focuses on specific verses from the Koran, demonstrates what happens to people who refuse to accept the rules of Islam. It is not recommended viewing for people who are hypersensitive to the reality we live in.) Not one TV network agreed to screen the film, though, because Muslims claimed it was disparaging of Islam, and also because they were warned that any theater that dared show it would find its building burned to the ground. Wilders is persona non grata in a number of Muslim countries, and a few more fatwas calling for him to be executed were issued.
Wilders came to see me last week in my home in Kfar Adumim, and this was the sixth or seventh time we’ve met. “Whenever I land at Ben-Gurion Airport, I immediately feel at home,” Wilders told me. “I have friends here. And I love Israel. You Israelis are like a ray of light in the darkness of the Middle East. There are one million Arabs in Holland. But it’s not the number of Muslim immigrants that’s the problem, it’s what they’re doing to Holland. Statistically, they make up a much higher percentage of people who are unemployed, involved in crime, prisoners and receive welfare benefits. They are a huge burden on Dutch society.”
When I told him that we have to deal with similar issues here in Israel, and he shouldn’t think this is a problem specific to the Netherlands, he replied that at least here in Israel we don’t pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. In Holland, Wilders says, everyone just closes their eyes and hopes that the problem will go away on its own.
When I asked Wilders about the murder of van Gogh in Amsterdam, he says that the letters that were left pinned to his body changed Wilders’s life forever. Wilders lost his freedom that day when he was moved to a military safe house with his family.
When the killer was captured, other threatening notes were discovered in the murderer’s house. When I asked Wilders if the murderer was still in jail, he was shocked. He replied, “Yes, he was sentenced to life.” And so I explained to Wilders that here in Israel terrorists who are arrested for murder and given life sentences don’t necessarily end up staying in jail that long. Israeli prime ministers tend to free them as a friendly gesture or they end up getting released in prisoner exchanges. I saw in Wilders’s eyes that I had finally found something he thought the Netherlands was doing better than we were. “That’s just crazy,” he replied.
“After van Gogh’s murder, the struggle against jihad became our main focus,” Wilders continued. “Hirsi Ali and I declared a ‘liberal jihad’ against them. We said that it should be illegal to grant democratic rights to people who wish to destroy our democracy. Every day I would submit queries about mosques and Islamic social organizations that were being built all around the country. I questioned their sources of financing, which were mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As a result, I started getting death threats from all sorts of Muslim youngsters living in Holland. Nowadays it’s different – now I only get death threats from the Taliban.”
The documentary Fitna has had one million views so far and has been translated into dozens of languages.
Now, Wilders says, all you have to do is turn on your TV to see the real live scenes that his film describes. It’s no longer a film – it’s what journalists are reporting back from Syria and Iraq.
There are Muslim representatives in the Dutch parliament, Wilders explains, who are members of a few different parties. The Left fights for them in parliament, and if the Muslims are not content with the results, they switch their support to the Green parties. Muslims have tremendous influence in leftist politics in the Netherlands, but they have yet to form a “Muslim party.”
I asked Wilders, “Why do you believe Islam is a threat to Europe?” “People who use politically correct terminology claim that there are two types of Islam: the moderate type, which some people call European Islam, and radical Islam. But the truth is, there is only one type of Islam and it is based on the Koran and its hadith, or teachings. Islam and freedom are mutually exclusive concepts. Islam is not really a religion, even though it has the characteristics of one: the Koran, mosques and imams. But, in fact, it’s a form of totalitarian ideology. They alter (or at least try to alter) every non-Muslim community they live in. Even if they are not the majority.
“The intolerant, totalitarian ideology of Islam professes that one cannot ever leave the religion. This is similar to communist or Nazi regimes. If you desire to cease being a Muslim, the penalty is death. Islam is dangerous and the Koran explicitly states that its goal is to eliminate all other faiths. Seventy-three percent of Muslims in Holland believe that Dutch Muslims who volunteer for jihad are heroes. Hundreds have already joined Islamic State and other such groups of their own free will. The situation is similar in many European countries.”
Well, thank goodness everything is fine here in Israel, I told Wilders. Even if Arab children in east Jerusalem follow a curriculum set by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and not Shai Piron. And their rule-of-three math word problems read something like this: If a shahid [martyr] blows himself up and kills 10 Zionists on a bus, how many Zionists will it take to kill four shahids on a train? All of this is funded by the Jerusalem municipality and the Education Ministry. But it’s not like this in Wadi Ara – only in east Jerusalem.
In Europe, people are finally beginning to react, said Wilders. “There are the first signs of resistance to this wave of Islamization. But the leaders haven’t woken up yet. Take, for example, what [US President Barack] Obama recently said: ‘We need to fight Islamic State, but this has no connection with Islam in general.’ There’s an elephant in the room, and they’re ignoring it. But it’s not an elephant and it’s not in the room – we are the ones who brought this elephant into our society,” Wilders says accusingly.
“This ‘multiculturalism’ is the most widespread disease that can be found in Europe today. There is no moderate Islam. I’m not saying there aren’t moderate people, but don’t forget the survey that was recently carried out in the Netherlands.
This is war. Rockets and bombs are not being used as they are here in Israel, but it’s still a war and ours is even more difficult because it’s easier to pretend like it’s not happening. In Israel, you can’t ignore rockets, but most Europeans ignore what’s happening right in their backyard. And when I try to enlighten them, they either ignore me or call me a racist and a fascist.
“And that’s why I think it’s so important to educate the public about the true nature of Islam,” Wilders says. “It’s not a mistake to tell your constituents the truth. It’s imperative. You must be honest even if you pay a price for it politically. The Dutch newspapers criticize me for visiting Israel again – they say that I’ll lose supporters for coming here and that I would do much better if I were to go to Ramallah. But only in the short term. You need to follow your true beliefs. Sometimes you’ll win and other times you’ll lose, but never give up when it comes to your ideals.
“When I was asked by Dutch journalists why I met with [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman, I answered that I wished someone in the Netherlands had just half of the courage Israelis show in their fight against the Arabs. If we did, we’d be able to get rid of all Islamic State supporters on our streets. We’d be able to get back the old Holland. But the reality is that now there are entire districts that are populated by Muslims and in which non-Muslim people cannot walk through. The Hague has an area called the “Shari’a Triangle,” and there are similar areas in Belgium and Germany. We must learn from you to be tougher.”
Wilders and I went on to speak about an initiative I was involved in to create a bloc of European political parties to fight against jihad in the European Parliament.
We spoke about the difficulty in preventing racist parties – even some with former neo-Nazi leanings – from joining the bloc to fight against Islam.
Wilders added that his own personal litmus test was these parties’ attitude toward Israel. And this was also how he chose his own staff members. “If someone only says he’s pro-Israel [because he knows I’m pro-Israel], but he doesn’t have a sparkle in his eyes, I don’t hire him.”
By now it was late and I knew that Wilders had an early flight home the next morning. But Geert Wilders will be back because he loves Israel.
The writer is a former Knesset member from the National Union and Otzma LeYisrael parties.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.